Saints training camp will be here soon enough, and we continue to preview the position groups for New Orleans. The safety spot is one of the team's strongest areas, with their starters being dominant and depth being fairly strong. They're in line for another good season, and will be a key area to success in 2021.
Depth Chart: Marcus Williams, Malcolm Jenkins, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, P.J. Williams, J.T. Gray, Eric Burrell
Three to Tango
Despite not receiving a contract extension, Marcus Williams is primed for a big season playing under the franchise tag. He had some adjustments to make last year pairing with veteran Malcolm Jenkins on his second stint with the Saints, but the pair ended up figuring things out and performing extremely well. Jenkins ending up leading the Saints defense with over 99 percent of the snaps (1,036), while Williams was third on the team at 84.1 percent (880) in 14 games.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson is a player you just can't keep off the field, as evidenced by his 861 snaps from 2020. New Orleans would often roll with Gardner-Johnson in favor of a having a third linebacker, and it worked a lot. Primarily known for getting under opponent's skins, Ceedy Duce helps solidify a stellar safety group with his exceptional ball skills.
P.J. Williams is a pretty good insurance policy, given all of the versatility that he brings to the table. His transition to be on the backend was a smart move, but he still saw a lot of action at various spots on the field last season. Williams plugged in at safety, outside corner, and slot corner as part of his 499 snaps in 2020. Perhaps we see more out of Williams this season, but as Bob Rose wrote previously, it's time to see him perform.
J.T. Gray is known more for being a special teams player, and his standout play helped him cash in on a nice contract extension in the offseason.
Not many know about Eric Burrell, but the Wisconsin pipeline has become a little familiar for Saints fans. We talked about Burrell's outlook when New Orleans locked up their undrafted rookie class.
Jim Leonhard was asked if he was reminded of himself when looking at Burrell, and gave a funny response about him with the size and such. He called him dynamic as a playmaker, citing that he made a good bit of plays in man and zone coverage, playing in the post, and blitzing. Leonhard said Burrell knows where he thrives as a football player and is one of those who finds a way.
In our special teams preview, the gunner and jammer spot opposite of J.T. Gray is up for grabs, and Burrell is someone who could make a name for himself by shining in that spot.
Read More Saints News:
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- 2021 Saints 53-Man Roster Predictions: Defense
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- Saints Training Camp: Individual Battles to Watch
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- Saints Training Camp Schedule Released
- Veterans the Saints Could Look At Before Training Camp
- Position Groups Saints Need for 2021 Success